There’s no doubt that cloud computing is an important trend in IT today. However, for most businesses it remains a future possibility. Businesses see the move to the cloud as risky. There are questions about performance and availability. Plus, the recent NSA scandals have raised further concerns about security, data privacy, and even geonational data boundaries. However, these concerns apply to the public cloud. The private cloud bypasses almost all these concerns.
Unlike the public cloud, which is hosted in an offsite cloud vendor’s data center, the private cloud is built using your own IT resources, which are typically on-premise. This means that the responsibility of managing and maintaining the private cloud is up to your own organization. However, the control and security of your applications and data are also your organization’s responsibility.
The tradeoff is in cost and control. The private cloud costs more to implement than the public cloud because you need to purchase and build the infrastructure rather than leasing it from an external provider. However, that added cost buys you complete control over the infrastructure—and that’s a tradeoff that many businesses find appealing.
So is the private cloud like one you might get with a public cloud offering such as Windows Azure? Or is it simply another fancy word for server virtualization?
The answer is that the private cloud is more than just server virtualization. The private cloud builds on the base that virtualization creates, but it goes beyond plain server virtualization. Like the public cloud, the private cloud enables flexibility, scalability, and self-service provisioning. Whereas server virtualization focuses on the server and virtual machine (VM) level, the private cloud enables management at the application or service level. Products such as Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 enable you to define a fabric for your computing infrastructure. You can then define services that comprise all the VMs that your applications require. You can then deploy and manage applications as a unit, giving you control and management efficiency that you could never get with just plain server virtualization. The private cloud gives you the benefits of the cloud while putting you in control of the technology.